DOZENS of strikers formed a picket line from 3.45am in Barrow on the first day of national industrial action over pay and redundancies.

The journeys of millions of commuters across England, Scotland and Wales will be disrupted this week as rail strikes force an estimated 80 per cent of trains to be cancelled.

A picket line formed outside Barrow Station and Elizabethan Way yesterday morning in day one of strike action which will continue on Thursday and Saturday June 25.

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) says workers are striking over job cuts, pay, working conditions and practices, and pensions.

READ MORE: Rail workers form picket line in Barrow in nationwide strike action

Rail bosses have confirmed that Furness and West Cumbria will receive no rail service during strike days and knock-on effects from these days will cause delays cancellations of services on non-strike days, leading railway operator Northern to advise customers not to travel all week.

The Mail: TURN OUT: Strikers in BarrowTURN OUT: Strikers in Barrow

Steve Nott was among the group of strikers protesting in Barrow yesterday morning.

Mr Nott, who has been working on the railways for nearly 20 years, said the first day of strike action was ‘really well supported’ by workers, unions, councillors and members of the public.

He said: “It was a really good turn out, no one crossed the picket line to go into work

“We had a lot of support off members of the public tooting their horns and shouting solidarity.

“It’s easy for people to think it’s just about to pay, but it’s not, it’s about threats to our jobs.

“The ambitious of the Government is to cut 2,500 Network Rail jobs and potentially replace them with drones.

“No one has had a pay rise in three years on Network Rail or Northern and cost of living is spiralling out of control, and no one should be ashamed to try and get a pay rise.

“This isn’t about what we earn in comparison to doctors or nurses - everyone deserves better.

“Railway workers were classes as key workers during Covid, but it feels like we’re not worth a decent pay rise and don’t have job security now.

“The cost of everything is spiralling, yet we’re expected to get on with it. People were putting their lives on the line during Covid.”

Mr Nott, an RMT representative in Barrow, said the strike was done with a ‘heavy heart’ but workers feel as if they ‘have no other option’.

He said: “It’s never great causing disruption, it was done with a heavy heart, and staff are not taking the action lightly, we’re all losing pay but we’ve been left with no alternative.

“Workers are going to continue to fight for their jobs and fight for a pay rise.

The Mail: PROTEST: Steve Nott, an RMT representative in Barrow,PROTEST: Steve Nott, an RMT representative in Barrow,

“No one is against reform but it needs to be negotiated properly and sensibly. It just seems that things could be moved along sensibly and quickly but there isn’t an appetite to do that from the Government.

“People voting for strike action is because they’re at the end of their tethers, people can’t afford to lose pay striking but feel they have no other option.”

According to a poll conducted on the Mail’s Instagram, 67 per cent of voters believed the strikes should not go ahead and 33 per cent were in support of them.

Mail readers appear to be backing the strikers all the way, with one reader writing he was unable to return to Barrow for a funeral due to the walk-outs but still supports the action ‘100 per cent’.

Maggie Pease said: “We’ve had to stay an extra night on holiday - well chuffed. Full support for these workers.”

Jennifer Exley said: “100 per cent solidarity with the rail workers.”

The Mail: FIGHT: PROTEST: Barrow RMT members striking at Elizabethan Way in Barrow yesterday morningFIGHT: PROTEST: Barrow RMT members striking at Elizabethan Way in Barrow yesterday morning

Andrew Mcbride said: “I was hoping to get back to Barrow from London today for a funeral, annoying timing but they still have my 100 per cent support.”

Lisa Holmes said: “People just seem to think it’s just because they want a pay rise, there is so much more to this and they 100 per cent have my support!”

Stuart Mcqueen said: “Lauded and applauded for being key workers during the pandemic, they deserve so much better than attacks on their pay, terms and conditions. Solidarity Comrades.”

Garry Waterworth said: “They’re creating hardship and misery for thousands and other workers, students and general travellers.”